WEST CHESTER The state has awarded 19 companies in Chester County a total of $1.45 million in tax credits through an incentive program that aids new firms with high growth and job-creation potential, a state senator announced last week.

The Keystone Innovation Zone tax credit program benefits companies less than eight years old in specific industries. About $15 million worth of tax credits were awarded statewide.

The Chester County list includes energy, technology, software, and pharmaceutical companies in, among other towns, Malvern, Wayne, Exton, and Berwyn.

"The Keystone Innovation Zone program helps ensure that promising young companies with tremendous growth potential set their roots right here in Pennsylvania rather than someplace else," State Sen. Andrew Dinniman said in his announcement. "These young start-up companies already offer highly skilled, good-paying jobs and are a vital part of Chester County's economic success."

Dinniman's website - www.senatordinniman.com - lists the county companies benefiting from the tax breaks from the state Department of Community and Economic Development. - Michaelle Bond